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EWI of San Diego Welcomes Its Newest Member Firms

EWI of San Diego Literacy Initiative

EWI of San Diego champions literacy initiatives, which support local organizations through outreach and financial support.

In 2016 EWI of San Diego named their literacy award after Adele Asmer. 

Executive Women International of San Diego

2020 Adele Asmer Literacy Program Recipient

Congratulations to Mi Esculita of South Bay Community Services!

2019 READING RALLY at Rancho de la Nacion Elementary

Thank you to all our members who helped make this year’s Reading Rally a SUCCESS! EWI of San Diego purchased 160 books by author Shellanee Marie to give to each 1st and 2nd graders. Additionally, a check was presented to the school for $1,100 to be used literary purposes.  The school principals stated some of the funds would be used to purchase books for a school book sale which the students can purchase $1.00 each (most of the books run $6 – $10 each!)

Special Thanks to members our on-site volunteers who helped make the day special for the students:

Darlene & Joshua Banogon
Besse Dozadiaz                
Andrea Dixon
Pat Evans                                                            
Jamie Fleming
April Hall
Jill Hammons
Laura Machado
Joy Malaise
Lourdes Navarro
Holly Stephenson                                                          

And let’s not forget the members who donated books or funds to purchase books:

Member Firms:
North Island Credit Union
USS Midway Museum

Darlene Banogon
Dawn Boese
Erin Chapman
Sarah Esch
Pat Evans
Linda Kent
Joan Lewan
Joy Malaise
Kati Mendoza
Lourdes Navarro
Karen Spence
Holly Stephenson
Anita Tindall
Debbie Wilmot
And, April Hall for the Bookmarks!

If you missed this year, we hope you will make time to attend next year.  Here’s some comments from the attendees. 

Katherine Melanese, School Principal
The students, staff and I are so thankful to you for bringing us together around such a beautiful message of inclusion and the power of books.  The kids were so excited to have all of you there and could feel your kindness and generosity of both your time and your hearts.  So happy to have spent such a special morning with you.  Thank you again for all you have done for our kids!

Holly Stephenson, AT&T
What a TERRIFIC day of outreach!!  My heart is full and my hopes for our children’s future is brighter after today.  THANK YOU all, SO MUCH for making this event fantastic.  A HUGE thank you goes to Darlene for Chairing, Andrea for bringing us the wonderful author, Shellanee and Lourdes for finding us such an amazing school – I was so impressed with the faculty and students.  THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!  EWI San Diego is SIMPLY THE BEST!

Andrea Dixon, Neighborhood House
What an amazing, inspiring, overwhelming, motivational, moving, heartfelt, community engagement and time well spent activity!!  Perfect way to start my weekend.  Thanks Holly for your vision, Darlene and Lourdes for your coordination and Principal Melanese for allowing us to work with THE BEST elementary students.  You and your staff are doing GREAT things with these kids.  Keep up the good work!

Jill Hammons, USS Midway
What a marvelous experience!   I had the very best time! “My” kids were darling, enraptured by the story of a Japanese grandfather, asked really wonderful questions, and were so kind and happy and smiling and smart. I love when ‘EWI gets out of the community more so we can show our stuff!  Let’s do it more! Today gave me tremendous confidence and a huge appreciation of the great future of our kids! I actually got a little teary…  I thanked the wonderful principal and invited her to apply to bring all the kids onto the ship.  Thank you thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful, memorable opportunity!!!! And sign me up for next year!

Besse Dozadiaz, Ferris & Britton
What a great event – I’m really happy I was able to make it this year. Ms. Melanese – thank you for having us! I read two books with Mrs. Jaramillo’s class, including one about veterinarians, which also gave us a chance to talk about the kids’ pets. I appreciated Shellanee’s intentional use of inclusive language with the kids, like saying “Hi Friends,” using they/them pronouns and referring to “the person that takes care of you at home” instead of “mom or dad.” I wish I would have asked for a copy of her book for my son – I figured I’d just buy It on Amazon but I’m actually having a hard time finding it available online. Darlene, do you know where it’s sold?  Thanks for reminding us why we’re in EWI!

Jamie Fleming, Fleming and Associates
What a great way to give back to our youth; and, a wonderful way to start the day.  I enjoyed reading The Three Little Javelinas which gave a culturally diverse depiction of The 3 Little Pigs (my new favorite). But, before I even got into the classroom, one 2nd grader asked if they could give me a hug which turned into a whole classroom of hugs.  We definitely have a brighter future with these kids.  Thank goodness!  I loved being able to participate in this event.  Great school choice, Lourdes!

Darlene Banogon, North Island Credit Union
Enjoyed planning this event for the Chapter.  It’s very rewarding to see what we can accomplish in the community.  I had brought Josh (my son) with me to help unload the books.  He did such a great job showing all our volunteers where to go.  When we reached the classroom to read, the teacher had selected the book “Mama, Do you love me?”   When she found out that Josh was my son, she asked that we read the parts for mother and child.  It made the day even more special!



2016 Adele Asmer Literacy Award goes to:

San Diego Library, Families of Literacy – $2,500

For more information about Literacy Awards, please contact:
Holly Stephenson
650 Robinson Ave., Rm. 170
San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 574-3042


Executive Women International of San Diego

2014 Literacy Program AWARDS goes to:

Avondale Elementary School – $1,250

City Heights Preparatory Charter School – $1,250

2013-2014 Literary Committee: Lourdes Navarro, eIRONclad Technology Solutions; Co Chair; Pat Evans, San Diego Convention Center Corp. Co-Chair



2011 Literacy Program AWARDS goes to:

Casita Elementary School – $2,200

YMCA After-School Care at Border View – $2,800


Casita Elementary School’s plan is to have Family Book Club nights once a month to read and discuss children’s literature.  Each month all participants will receive a grade level book to take home and keep.  The following month those students and their parents meet to discuss, like a book club, the previous month’s book.  The staff is available and highly motivated to make the family reading nights successful and well attended.  Casita serves a community that is 60% socio-economically disadvantaged and “putting books into the hands of the children” will be a valuable tool in getting the kids there as many of them will not have any books of their own at home.  They will have games, guest readers, contests and awards.

The YMCA of San Diego County Border View Family YMCA Branch will use their grant to set up reading “rooms” at Juarez Lincoln Elementary School and the Border View YMCA Child Watch Program, two programs like Casita, that serve socio-economically challenged families.  Both locations will create reading areas with comfortable furniture, books and supplies to encourage reading and writing. YMCA employees will be utilized in reading with and tutoring the children participating.  They will work to bring the staff and the families together in working with readers who are behind grade level.  Our grant will provide that space and the reading materials that will teach the children “what curling up with a good book” means.

2010-2011 Literary Committee

Trish Ghio, Anthony’s Seafood Group Co Chair; Beth Sullivan, Alternative Health Source Co-Chair; Anna Kintzer-McCutcheon, San Diego Theatres, Inc.; Bonnie Reiner, Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Charlita Shelton, University of the Rockies; Donna Simon, S.D. Air & Space Technology Center; Gracia Hinesh, Life Member; Jan Rogers, Francis Parker School; Pat Evans, S.D. Convention Center Corporation; Besse Johannsen, Ferris & Britton, APC; and Kathy Trombley, Magpie Enterprises, Inc.


Executive Women International of San Diego

2010 Literacy Initiative ~ EWI San Diego Literacy Kick Off

“At EWI-San Diego, promoting literacy is a primary component of our mission statement.  Logan Elementary was the recipient of our $5,000 literacy grant for 2010 and we will continue to support the San Diego community in meeting the educational needs of our children.”   ~ Pat Evans, representing San Diego Convention Center Corporation and EWI San Diego’s VP/President Elect

John Logan Elementary School “Hooked on Series” literacy initiative is a SUCCESS!  The new books are in and the kids anxiously awaited their turn at selecting their favorite book to check out.  One of Logan Elementary’s top reader surprised the room with a song……


Logan Elementary Principal and Students

IceCream Time

EWI San Diego Reading Rally Kick Off

Looking for Books